JERUSALEM - On Wednesday, February 2nd, 2022, in the co-cathedral of the Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem, His Beatitude Mgr Pierbattista Pizzaballa, Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem, invested two European clergymen with the title of honorary canons of the Holy Sepulchre.
An Order of Canons of the Holy Sepulchre was instituted at the end of the First Crusade in 1099, to look after the Church and to ensure the liturgy in the Holy Places. Recognized by a bull of Pope Paschal II in 1113 and subject from 1114 to the Rule of St. Augustine, the canonical Order of the Holy Sepulchre spread to monasteries throughout Europe after the fall of the Latin Kingdom of Jerusalem, eventually evolving far from the Holy Land.
However, it should not be confused with the Chapter of Canons of the Holy Sepulchre, which is governed by canon law and was created for the Diocese of Jerusalem, when the Latin Patriarchate was re-established in 1847. It is a college of priests to whom it falls to perform more solemn liturgical functions in the cathedral or collegiate church of the diocese, or any other function that may be entrusted to them by law or by the diocesan bishop (Can. 503). This canonry is a distinction that rewards exceptional dedication to the Church of the Holy Land and its members.
The effective canons are members of the local clergy, while the title of honorary canon is reserved for clergymen who do not belong to the Diocese of Jerusalem, such as the two new members of the Canonical Chapter of the Holy Sepulchre: Msgr. Alfredo Pizzuto, from Siena, who has been visiting the Latin Patriarchate for a few weeks now, and Fr. Markus Bugnyar, rector of the Austrian Hospice in Jerusalem since 2004.
The rite is simple and somewhat similar to a liturgy of the word, but still retains some particularities. Yesterday, the entrance in procession was thus followed by a reading and proclamation of the Gospel; then the two future canons knelt before the main altar of the co-cathedral, on either side of the Patriarch, for the invocation to the Holy Spirit, before pronouncing each the profession of faith and the oath of fidelity, one hand extended over the Bible presented by His Beatitude.
The Patriarch then blessed and handed the insignia of the new canons to them: the white mozzetta (short cape with buttons) with a red Jerusalem cross embroidered on the left side, and the three-pointed black cubic hat, surmounted by the magenta pompom characteristic of the canons, whether effective or honorary.
In front of an assembly composed of many religious, including the Vicar General Mgr William Shomali, the Vicar General Emeritus Mgr Boulos Marcuzzo, Canon Adib Zoomot, as well as a large delegation of Franciscans of the Custody, some relatives and Knights of the Holy Sepulchre, the Patriarch welcomed these two new canons with great joy.
He recalled that although the honorary canons cannot always go to the Holy Sepulchre, they are spiritually united to it and must pray for the Church and the Diocese of Jerusalem, the heart of the Church. Their presence in their respective dioceses further strengthens the link between their communities, the Holy Sepulchre, which is the cathedral of the Mother Church of Jerusalem, and the Christians of the Holy Land.